Why not? Because anything other than vague reassurances about “areas where [Facebook] could make progress or commit to changes” would involve facing some hard truths. It would mean admitting that the world is made up not of millions of undifferentiated economic units that somehow yield GDP statistics, but of people, who have a common good. It would mean the acknowledgement that there is no hard-and-fast distinction between the so-called public and private sectors and the end of clichés about “crony capitalism,” which is just capitalism simpliciter. It would mean accepting that there are such things as monopolies and that some of them deserve either to be broken up or controlled collectively by the state.

Perhaps most relevant, it would mean moving beyond the Des Moines Chamber of Commerce’s lost ad revenue or the untold harm visited upon those of us who can no longer watch Louis Farrakhan videos to something more fundamental. It would mean questioning the power of a single company to redefine the very nature of human communication. It would mean asking whether the internet as we know it is such an unambiguously good thing after all. What if something that was supposed to bring liberation and enlightenment has made us all radically less free?

This is a question that conservatives cannot and will not answer.